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TV Worth Watching Marks First Anniversary! Exclamation Marks Justified!
November 6, 2008  | By David Bianculli
(Leaving this up an extra day -- part of the celebration!)

November 5 marked the first anniversary of this TV WORTH WATCHING website. I would have mentioned it then, but there was this pesky presidential election thing to write about instead...

Not that I should be surprised that breaking news would trump things here. The very day I launched this website, on Nov. 5, 2007, the Writers' Guild went on strike... making it much more challenging, for the next year of reduced production and offerings, to find TV worth watching. But the presidential campaign already was underway, so that was something.

And so, when the stroke of midnight approached and President-Elect Barack Obama was giving his acceptance speech on live TV, I was hardly surprised that breaking news, and real-life events, would take precedence.

But today, with everyone nationally taking a communal breath, I feel justified in taking the time, and space, to mark this site's 1st anniversary. From this side of the computer screen, it's been a hell of a ride.


I began contemplating the idea of a website devoted to quality TV in July 2007. A month or so after that, I sent my first ridiculously amateurish mock-up to Eric Gould, a great friend who's also a great architect and artist -- and who patiently and brilliantly turned my stick-figure drawings and tacky visual aids into the pages you see today, and have seen for a year.

For old times' sake, and for a good laugh, I'm reproducing here the first page mockup I sent poor Eric then, for what was supposed to be the main page. Have pity on him.

The website -- designing, programming and maintaining it -- was infinitely more difficult than I could have imagined, or I never would have attempted it. Eric provided the first element, and website programmer Chris Spurgeon, another great friend, provided the second, and, at first, the third. Then Rich Baniewicz took over the programming part.

Diane Werts joined as a fellow columnist about halfway through the year, and has done a marvelous job. She's also done something really special: click on the "Holiday Gift Guide" just above the BEST BETS, and you'll be taken to a terrific list of gift recommendations. Other special links and offerings by Diane, including a compendium of holiday specials on DVD and an absurdly complete list of holiday-themed TV specials and where to find them, are imminent. And there's her book, too, which makes a perfect holiday gift -- and can be ordered by clicking on its icon at right.

Diane and Bill Brioux, another contributing TV critic, added their voices to the site's special fall preview package this season, which I hope you found helpful, as well as fun to read. And along the way, during this first year of TV WORTH WATCHING, I've been proud to present such things as coverage of the strike, news of the renewal of Friday Night Lights, and my account of the bold NAB address by Tim Robbins.

All that, and a year's worth of BEST BETS without missing a day, and weekday blogs with almost the same consistency. Fair warning: for the rest of November, I'll be taking occasional days off, as I work to complete my book on the Smothers Brothers, which is due Nov. 30. Wish me luck.

Truth be told, though, I feel pretty lucky already. I'm proud of TV WORTH WATCHING, and hope to open it up to more TV critics in 2009. And I'm really, really happy you're here for the ride. Please keep visiting... and spread the word. The first anniversary gift, after all, is paper -- and I'm not working for one of those any more.





Robert said:

David, a well deserved congratulations to you on your one year anniversary - I hope it's gratifying for you to know that many of us who love television as much as you do appreciate what you do, and look forward to many more years of it!

(While it's probably too soon to ask, do you have any plans to do any book signings in the NY/NJ area when your Smothers Brothers tome is released next year?) (You better believe it --and you better BELIEVE readers of this site will get first notice, and first crack, and maybe some sort of secret decoder ring... Thanks for the kind words. -- David B.)

Comment posted on November 6, 2008 12:21 PM

Michael said:

Happy Anniversary.

Thanks for all daily reminders about great television I might be missing.

Now stop it. My TIVO is full. (...And my brain is empty. So we're even. Thanks for being there. -- David B.)

Comment posted on November 6, 2008 12:46 PM

henri said:


this is a wonderful site you have created and your blog posts are a treat to read every day. (Thanks, Henri. I hope you enjoy some of the "Happy Smothers Day" day-off posts as well. Sigh. -- David B.)

Comment posted on November 6, 2008 1:02 PM

Harry said:

Congratulations !

And, thanks for providing us with your excellent columns and with valuable information. We faithful readers are happy to celebrate with you. (Thanks, Harry. You bring the cake. I'll bring the home-made sorbet. -- David B.)

Comment posted on November 6, 2008 5:25 PM

Sally W. said:

Happy Anniversary! Wow, has it really been a year? It has gone by so fast... (but the writers' strike does feel like a lifetime ago...!). Keep up the great work; it's because of you that I can get any help in figuring out what's worth watching.

Speaking of newspapers, I thought it was ironic that - at least in the NYC metro area - people were hunting for newspapers as souvenirs of President-Elect Obama's victory, at a time when newspapers were cutting back on printings and staff. If there's one thing the Internet can't quite replace, it's the idea of keeping history on paper or in the form of an actual artifact for our future generations.

Congratulations again! (What a great point about the newspapers -- hadn't thought of it, but it's absolutely true. At least for now. Thanks for the nice comments, too. -- David B.)

Comment posted on November 6, 2008 10:59 PM

Marlark said:

I don't know if this first year went quickly for you, but man it went fast for me! Congratulations. TVWW quickly became part of my daily routine: a treat to look forward to during a midday break. Here's to many more years of insightful treats! (Thanks a lot -- I'm such a glass-totally-empty guy, I'm rooting for many more years, period. Keep reading, though. It's the only reason I keep writing. Clearly, it's not the money. -- David B.)

Comment posted on November 7, 2008 1:14 AM

Eileen said:

All the best on this special anniversary. We, your faithful readers, have gained such insight this past year from your sage comments and observations. Your site is a "must read" each day.

Happy Anniversary -- and many, many more. (Thanks, Eileen! I love having you here... - David B.)

Comment posted on November 7, 2008 8:45 AM

Tan said:

A huge congratulations from your Aussie fans and friends and thanks for all the hard work! I'd love a search button for future website updates, as there are many blog items I'd love to read when programs are screening in Australia. We're in the middle of In Treatment on pay tv over here Ep 31 and I'm busting for the next one. Can't wait to read the Smothers Brothers book and for your 2009 speaking engagement in Sydney. (Do you know something I don't? Hmm. Probably, you do. But I'm on the record as loving Australia... and Australians. -- David B.)

Comment posted on November 7, 2008 7:33 PM

Ott Gangl said:

"...is paper -- and I'm not working for one of those any more..."

Congrats, David, this is from one who worked with you when you did work for a paper, the Akron Beacon Journal. I retired as a photographer 16 years ago and thus find more time to watch TV. I discovered your web site about six month ago and now it is among the half dozen sites I check out first every morning.

I want to thank you in particular for turning me on to Friday Night Lights which I had dismissed during the regular broadcasting as a silly sports story, how wrong can one be? I caught up via DVD. Also Mad Men I discovered from your recommendation.

You may enjoy one of my Smother Brothers pictures at http://corrr1.com/t17.jpg

Ott Gangl (Hey, Ott! Great to hear from you -- and I LOVE that picture. If you keep good enough files to know who the actresses were -- was that an Ohio production of "I Love My Wife"? -- I'd love to use the photo for the book. I'll contact you! -- David B.)

Comment posted on November 8, 2008 9:39 AM

Alex said:

Congratulations! I've been reading and listening to you since... probably 15 years ago, now, when I started noticing your reviews and criticism on Fresh Air and eventually picked up Teleliteracy. It really is gratifying to have a place to read your daily notes on the web.

Let's hope the first anniversary leads to many more. (Thanks so much -- and anybody who picked up Teleliteracy, even if you didn't open it, is a friend in my book. And OF my book. -- David B.)

Comment posted on November 8, 2008 11:00 PM
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